Wednesday, August 26, 2015

So...guess who got her drivers license yesterday....

Well, technically I have an interim license. But I passed the test! So now I get to drive by myself, a privilege I took full advantage of today.

The first place I drove was the library. That was fitting, as it was always one of my goals to get my license so I could go to the library by myself.

Then I drove to my high school to pick up some artwork from last year. I got to say hi to a couple people, so that was nice. They remodeled the receptionist's office! And they painted over the senior locker room. It's a tradition that each year the seniors paint the senior locker room. Ours was RAD. The theme was "around the world" and we painted different landmarks and stuff. My best contribution was undoubtedly the David statue wearing an itty-bitty school uniform skirt.

Then I went home, and practiced cello for the first time in months, and did some art. Maybe I should post pictures of the art. I've been doing a lot of watercolor lately. I found a watercolor journal someone gave me so I'm trying to build a small portable portfolio. I'll show you some time if you want :)

Then tonight I drove over to a friend's house and hung out. That involved a good twenty minutes of freeway each way, and it was dark on the way back. But it was nice. I like driving alone. It's peaceful. I can't think too much, so it's just me and the radio and my internal driving monologue (which is like my usual internal monologue but with more traffic updates). It was good. Also, I...might like country music in the car. A lot. Don't hate me.

I'm really glad I went over there. I hadn't seen this friend in a while, and it was nice to get in touch. It's so weird that I can just drive wherever I want now. I feel like such an adult, driving home alone at night and letting myself into the house...it's an interesting feeling. For the first time, I felt ready for college.

Then I looked around my room and thought, Never mind. It's a bit of a mess. And by a bit I meant a lot. 

See you soon. Thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I am really bad at keeping a journal. I found a couple of my old diaries today. One was from 2012, my sophomore year of high school. It was pretty much full. The second picked up where the first left off, in the winter of 2012-2013, then suddenly jumped to fall of 2013, then jumped again to 2014 and abruptly ended. I don't remember why I stopped writing in it.

Wait, yes I do. That probably would have been...yeah, the fall of 2012 was about when I first started developing the characters for my steampunk comic. I wound up writing and sketching in a school notebook, and I guess that became my new journaling. I stopped writing about my life and started writing about my characters, and drawing them.

It's weird. I used those lined notebooks all through high school, but I think I've mostly switched to actual sketchbooks now. I have a writing notebook, but it's been slow going. What little writing I do is mostly typed these days. I started a notebook when I was at the Kenyon workshop and finished it shortly afterwards, then started another. I'm still working on that one.

But I have a lot of stuff in my sketchbooks now. Maybe that's better. Or maybe both systems are fine and valid. I like the sketchbooks. But I liked the lined notebooks too, especially because I could get away with them in class.

Hopefully the sketchbooks will last longer, though. The lined notebook I had back in 2012 is really faded now. I'm worried I'll lose stuff.

I'm not sure why I'm talking about all this. Maybe it's because I found my diaries. Maybe it's because college starts in two weeks and I'm terrified. But I hope I can continue this blog. I've missed it. I just need to start updating again, and stop worrying that everything I do is too boring for you guys. You've stuck with me so far. Hopefully you'll stick with me a little farther.

Speaking of which--I've always wondered who actually reads this thing. No one comments on it, which I think is because my readers tend not to have Blogger accounts. But if you want, I can set up a special email so we can talk. I'm a little scared that I'll do that and then get nothing, but it might be worth the risk. Would you like that?

Ahh, it's 10:32 here and I'm tired. I'm rambling. God, I feel old.

I'm just going to keep rambling, if that's okay. Or even if it's not. You don't have to read this. I hope you do, though.

For me, one of the worst feelings is when you try and try to get in touch with a friend and get nothing. You text "Hey" three days in a row. No response. You try Skype. And you're so scared of looking desperate, but you miss them. And every now and then they do respond, but then they put their phone down again. Or say goodnight. And don't respond for another two weeks.

It hurts. It makes you feel unwanted. Clingy. Not good enough. I'm tired of it happening. God, so many of my friends do that to me. And I know it's not their fault, they're busy and they don't have time for a homebound 19-year-old loser who still can't drive, but still. I wish they would make time to hang out. It's not that hard.

Oh well. In two weeks, I'm going off to college, and I'm going to make new friends. And hopefully, they'll be the kind I see every day. Hopefully they'll actually want to spend time with me. That would be a really nice change.

I shared the lined notebooks with my friends. That's how they knew my characters. But now I've figured out the conflict of the story and none of the characters are safe. Everything is changing, even my storyworld. Maybe that's why I feel lonely tonight. Because not only am I losing so many friends, not only am I moving in two weeks, but the storyworld that's been with me for almost four years suddenly fundamentally changed. There's so much change in my life right now. So much uncertainty. I'm scared.

But I think I'll be okay. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

OKAY SO I JUST FOUND THE BEST WEBSITE

IT'S CALLED WRITTEN? KITTEN! AND IT GIVES YOU KITTENS FOR WRITING

GO CHECK IT OUT

http://writtenkitten.net/

(Don't try copy-pasting stuff in, they're wise to your tricks.)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Breakththrough

I had a major breakthrough on my webcomic idea today!

It's beginning to have a PLOT! And antagonists! And death!

So that's good news :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hey guys, I'm still alive. I know it's been a while. Lots of stuff has happened. I decided what college I'm going to, graduated from high school, and started learning to drive. I need to get back into blogging. I've had really bad writers' block lately. I finished a couple of big projects and since then I haven't been writing nearly enough. Anyway, I'll update again soon. See ya :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How E-Books Have Changed the Publishing Industry

Dear regular readers: sorry about this, my final econ project had to have a QR code, so I made it lead to this.

In 2007, the landscape of publishing changed forever. The publishing industry has continued to change for nearly a decade, and many aspects of it are still in flux now. Publishers are trying to figure out what customers want and are willing to pay for, and how much of that relies on adapting to the new inventions of digital publishing. But although digital publishing has spread to nearly every part of the publishing industry and revolutionized information distribution, many still prefer printed books, which, it seems, will not be leaving the market any time soon.
When the first Kindle was introduced in November of 2007, it was marketed as easily portable and convenient. People could buy books online, as long as the Kindle was connected to the internet, and have them delivered instantly. The text size was adjustable, and annotations could be made with features for notes and highlighting. The initial release of the Kindle was wildly popular, selling out in only five hours. The invention of the Kindle, an entirely new way to access literature of all kinds, shook the publishing industry to its roots and changed it irrevocably.
            But the Kindle Fire had several disadvantages. Books could only be owned, not borrowed. It was difficult to navigate between chapters—the reader could not simply flip the book open and thumb through the pages. For readers who enjoy rereading passages at random, this was a major problem. While some of these problems were later resolved—Amazon now offers a service allowing customers to borrow books, which are removed from the device when the time is up—many readers still preferred the familiarity of paper books. Of the eighteen girls surveyed for this paper, fifteen own an e-reader and eleven report that they do not use their e-reader for pleasure reading. Most respondents report that they prefer physical books, saying that they prefer the way books feel and that e-readers “ruin the experience.” Nine out of seventeen, however, did say that their e-reader was more convenient than physical books (one declined to answer the question), although this is not surprising considering that most, if not all, of those surveyed use their e-reader mainly for school textbooks, as the data came from a pool of students whose school requires digital textbooks.
            Although people may prefer physical books, the advent of e-books, which can be both cheaper and easier to access, has definitely had an impact on the publishing industry.  But rather from being a death knell, digital books have inspired companies to tweak their policies and change their modes of operation. Without printing costs, e-publishing holds possibilities for companies to grow their readership and expand into new territory.
One reason people prefer physical books may be the tangibility of bookstores themselves. There is something terribly impersonal about having a book digitally delivered to an electronic device, where it looks exactly like every other book on the device does. Bookstores and libraries function as community centers, and as Scott Timberg points out, “Every time a shop selling books or records, or renting movies, closes, we lose the kind of gathering spaces that allow people oriented to culture to meet and connect; we lose our context, and the urban fabric frays." Digital books may also be a factor in the mass bookstore closings of the past few years. Employment numbers in newspaper, book, and directory publishers fell 39.5 percent between January 2002 and January 2012. Newspapers have strongly suffered in the transition from physical publishing to online publishing. Online publications generate money primarily from advertisements, rather than from subscribers, earning money every time the page is clicked on and the ads viewed. One online subscriber, however, is worth about $26, while a print subscriber pays something closer to $539. The money saved in printing expenses cannot cover the difference. 
Although people have been reading stories on the internet since the internet was invented, digital publishing signifies a monumental transition in consumer media. While common reading material for the internet includes fan fiction and short free stories, digital publishing allows copyrighted works to be downloaded in a matter of minutes. It also provides the opportunity for piracy, allowing works to be downloaded with greater ease. While legislation has been passed against digital piracy, it is often inadequate and ineffective. As Urs and Gasser point out in Born Digital, “There may be a need for radical changes to the copyright law in response to changes in media forms, but simply piling on more protections to the age-old framework, which is ill-fitting to the digital era, is not the answer." Born Digital suggests that laws should be modified to allow people to freely share their work on the internet while regulating how that work is used and creating a level playing field. Digital copyright laws, while a work in progress, are slowly advancing to meet the needs of the new age. They are accompanied in this by piracy prevention techniques, which have been refined to match the needs of this new society. As technology progress, society adapts to it, and although copyright violation is easier now, anti-piracy software is steadily progressing, as are copyright laws.
            The internet allows for a wider distribution of work for free, as well as making it easier for authors to get in touch with potential agents and publishers. But although it is easier to contact an agent, it has become much harder to get books published physically. Publishers are more picky about selecting manuscripts, and agents habitually narrow the number of clientele they take on. For some, however, publishing on the internet has provided new opportunities. Many contemporary authors start off writing derivative works, or fan fiction, using websites such as FanFiction.net and Archive of Our Own (also known as AO3). One author, who writes under the pseudonym of Michaela Grey, has more than forty works on Archive of Our Own, where she posts stories chapter by chapter and receives feedback from her wide circle of readers. Grey’s second published novel, Coffee Cake, started out on Archive of Our Own and will debut on May 11, 2015. Through her writing on the internet, Grey has ensured herself a wide readership and she regularly interacts with her fans, who are excited to buy Coffee Cake in both print and digital format.

            Although the nature of books is rapidly changing and much is still in flux, it is doubtful that printed books will be eliminated from the market. Many still prefer them to digital books, and as an art form physical books have endured countless revolutions in American society. Digital books may be the literature of the future, but the printed word is here to stay.

Sources
Carreiro, Erin. “Electronic Books: How Digital Devices and Supplementary New Technologies are Changing the Face of the Publishing Industry.” Publishing Research Quarterly 26.4 (2010): 219-35. Web. 29 Apr. 2015. ProQuest.

Palfrey, John and Gasser, Urs. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. New York: Basic Books, 2008. Print.

Petrelli, Daniela, and Wright, Hazel. "On the Writing, Reading and Publishing of Digital Stories." Library Review 58.7 (2009): 509-26. ProQuest. Web. 29 Apr. 2015. ProQuest.

Tian, Yu, and Chen, Jingliang. "A Research on Architecture of Digital Publishing Management System." Computer and Information Science 3.3 (2010): 66-70. ProQuest. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.

Timberg, Scott. Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. Print.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Not Bragging

Good grief, has it really been a month? Sorry for the long wait, friends. I've been a tad busy lately, what with college applications, scholarships, and various surprises along the way.

Where do I even start?

Well, I got into two colleges so far, so at least I know I'm going somewhere. That's good.

I also won a YoungArts award for Creative Writing a while back. For some reason I've been very calm about the whole thing, despite the fact that it's actually a pretty big deal. I get to go to a week-long workshop in L.A. week after next! I'm especially proud because one of the pieces I submitted was funny, and funny writing doesn't usually win prizes. So I'm very proud. :D

Something a little bizarre happened this morning. I walked up to a group of my friends and they burst into applause! "Congratulations!" said my yearbook co-editor-in-chief.

Me: "What?"
YCEIC: "You got a Scholastic Award!"
Me: "WHAT."
YCEIC: "I just saw this morning!"
Me: "I am so confused right now."

The reason I was so confused was that I was pretty sure I'd missed the deadline by two hours. I remembered doing this very clearly. I'd uploaded four writing pieces, but I hadn't actually pushed the Submit button.

Well, I guess I didn't need to, because I somehow wound up with two Gold Keys and two Silver Keys in the regional division of the Scholastic Writing Awards. So...yay? Seriously, no idea how that happened, but I'm still pretty happy about it. (Also congratulations to YCEIC and my other Creative Writing friend, who also got several awards from Scholastic!)

Also I finally finished my last-ever P.E. class. I get to take Painting and Drawing now instead, which is awesome! We're painting black-and-white lemons.

Got to go to class now. See ya soon!